Before we discuss combining these two methodologies, let’s briefly recap what Design Thinking (DT) and the Lean Startup are:
What is Design Thinking?
Design Thinking (DT) is a process used by designers and strategists to develop human-centered solutions. The process starts by building empathy with your customers and ends with solutions that best solve their problems. DT consists of four key steps: Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver.
What is the Lean Startup?
The Lean Startup is an iterative process used for developing products or services based on what people want. The goal is to develop a product or service by first creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This MVP is then developed using the Build Measure Learn framework to gather feedback and improve it.
Combining Design Thinking (the problem phase) and the Lean Startup (the solution phase)
There are two main phases that a new product goes through when it’s created. These are:
- The “Customer Problem” Phase
New and innovative products look to solve new problems or solve old problems differently. This means you need to explore and understand your customer’s needs. In doing so, you’ll identify their unmet needs and create new ideas to solve them.
- The “Customer Solution” Phase
You’ll need to validate your ideas from the “Customer Problem” phase to ensure they’re feasible solutions. In the combined framework of DT and the Lean Startup, DT is used in the “Customer Problem” phase. The Lean Startup is then used in the “Customer Solution” phase.
Image source: Gartner
Why use Design Thinking to find the ‘Customer Problem’?
DT is about developing ideas to solve problems. Starting by building empathy with customers, you will identify their unmet needs and problems. The insights you collect will help you generate multiple ideas and define a ‘How Might We’ statement. This statement outlines the problem you and your team are trying to solve.
Benefits of Design Thinking
Design Thinking provides a variety of benefits in the innovation process. For example, Design Thinking:
- Builds empathy with your customers: DT’s first step is the ‘Discover’ phase, where you gather as much information on your customers as possible. This allows you to step into their shoes.
- Uncovers unmet needs: By finding your customer’s successes and pain points, you are unearthing the problem you want to solve.
- Aligns you and your team on the problem you’re trying to solve: Innovation teams are often diverse, consisting of people from different disciplines. Therefore, by defining a ‘How Might We’ statement, you’re ensuring everyone is on the same page.
- Helps you and your team understand the value of the problem from the customer’s perspective, when evaluating ideas: By cultivating a wealth of knowledge on your customers, you can develop human-centered ideas for them.
Why use the Lean Startup to develop the Customer Solution?
The Lean Startup’s strengths lie in rigorous testing, measuring, and iterating. This ensures that the best ideas are tested and improved upon, thus creating the best solutions.
The Lean Startup gives teams an iterative framework to quickly build solutions (the above-mentioned MVPs), to measure their successes and failures with customers, and to apply those learnings to the solution’s next iteration.
Benefits of the Lean Startup
The Lean Startup provides a variety of benefits in the innovation process. For example, the Lean Startup:
- Provides incremental improvements for solutions: Incremental improvements prioritize smaller solutions and actions when tackling large projects and therefore make innovation more efficient.
- Allows businesses to divert the right resources into the right places: The Lean Startup provides validated learnings from its feedback-focused framework. Because of this, teams can put the right resources in the right places and work more efficiently when developing solutions.
- Tests new ideas quickly and delivers results: The Lean Startup is an iterative framework. It aims to test quickly and gather feedback fast. This enables teams to understand what’s working and what’s not, and quickly develop new solutions.
- Reduces risk: Due to its iterative and incremental nature, the Lean Startup reduces risk because you are constantly testing to see if a solution is viable, before investing more time and money into it.
Join us next month, when we’ll take an in-depth look at the Agile framework and its principles, and how these can benefit market researchers.
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